Crucible of Gold (Temeraire Series #7)

Crucible of Gold (Temeraire Series #7)

by Naomi Novik

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345522870
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/30/2013
Series: Temeraire Series , #7
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 43,866
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 4.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, and Blood of Tyrants, the first eight volumes of the Temeraire series. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award and has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as the Locus Award for Best New Writer and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final?
 
Fascinated with both history and legends, Novik is a first-generation American raised on Polish fairy tales and stories of Baba Yaga. Her own adventures include pillaging degrees in English literature and computer science from various ivory towers, designing computer games, and helping to build the Archive of Our Own for fanfiction and other fanworks. Novik is a co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works.
 
She lives in New York City with her husband, Charles Ardai, the founder of Hard Case Crime, and their daughter, Evidence, surrounded by an excessive number of purring computers.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I am afraid his attention is much given to material things,” Shen Li observed in a mild way, while Temeraire strove in the distance lifting up the great carved-out slab of stone which should form the central part of the floor of the pavilion: a curious opinion to hear from a dragon, who were nearly all of them inclined to extreme attachment to material things; but perhaps her long stretches in the air, over the barren distances of the Australian deserts and the southern Pacific, had inclined the great-winged Chinese courier to adopt a philosophy more suited to her lot.

     “It is of course an admirable work,” she added, “but such attachments inevitably must lead to suffering.”

     Laurence answered her with only a small part of his attention: Temeraire had managed to get the slab aloft, and Laurence now waved the team of men forward to raise the skids which should guide it into its final resting place; but even this immediate work did not hold his thoughts. Those were bent upon the low hut some ten yards distant, under a stand of trees and the coolest place in their ragged encampment, where Hammond lay recovering: and with him all the world, come back to knock at Laurence’s threshold when he had thought it done with.

     The slab swayed uncertainly in mid-air, then steadied as it reached the long wooden braces; Temeraire sighed out his breath and lowered slowly away, and the stone scraped bark and shreds of wood down onto the workers as the slab eased gently down and settled in, the men backing away with their staves as it slid.

     “Well, and a miracle it is no-one was crushed, or lost a hand,” Mr. O’Dea said with something of an air of disappointment, as he paid off the men with their tots of rum and a few coins of silver; he had made a great many predictions of disaster over Temeraire’s obstinate determination to have the single enormous slab of beautifully marbled stone preserved at the heart of his pavilion.

     “It would have been quite criminal to cut it up smaller,” Temeraire said, “and spoil the pattern; not that I do not admire mosaics very much, particularly if they are made of gems, but this is quite out of the common way, even though some might say it is just ordinary rock.”

     He had finished inspecting all the supports, sniffing at the fresh mortar anxiously, and now sank down with some relief beside Laurence and Shen Li for a drink of water from the flowing stream. “Do you not agree?”

     “It is very handsome,” Shen Li said, “although I can see no evil in admiring it in the valley where it was formed.”

     “I do not mean to be rude, Laurence,” Temeraire said quietly aside, when she had turned her attention elsewhere, “but Shen Li can be rather dampening to one’s spirits; although I must be grateful to her for being so obliging as to come and bring us letters and visitors: how kind of Mr. Hammond to travel so long a way to see us.”

     “Yes, “Laurence said soberly, as he undid the wrappings on the mail: a large and heavy scroll wrapped on rollers of jade, for Temeraire from his mother, Qian, which accompanied a book of poetry; and a thick sealed packet which Laurence turned over several times and at last had to remove the outer layer of covering to find it addressed to Gong Su with no more direction than his name.

     “Thank you, Captain,” Gong Su said, and taking it went into his own small lean-to; shortly Laurence could see him performing the Chinese ritual of obeisance to it, and supposed it must be a communication from his father.

     There was also, more incongruously, a heavily crossed note for a Mr. Richard Shipley:“Can this be for you, Mr. Shipley?” Laurence asked, doubtfully, wondering how a former convict should have come by a correspondent in China.

     “Aye, sir, “the young man said, taking it, “my brother’s in the Willow-Tree as runs the Canton route, and much obliged to you.”

     Shen Li had brought also a small mailbag to be passed along to Sydney, but these were all the letters directed to the members of their own small company of laborers. Laurence closed up the bag: O’Dea would take it to Port Jackson tomorrow, and perhaps Hammond would go along with it. His business might well be there, with Captain Rankin, who after all was the senior officer of the Corps in this country.

     Laurence could not persuade himself to believe it, however. While the cows roasted on spits, for the dragons’ dinner, he walked out over the newly laid floor of the pavilion to its edge and looked down upon the broad valley, already sprouting with the first seed crops, and the browsing herd of sheep and cattle lowing soft to one another in the late afternoon. The war was only a distant storm passing on the other side of the mountains, a faint, far-away noise; here there was peace, and honest labor, without the clinging stink of murder and treachery which seemed to have by slow octopoid measures attached itself to his life. Laurence had found himself content to forget the world, and to be forgotten by it.

     “Thank you, I will,” he heard Hammond saying, and turned: Hammond had at last emerged from the hut and was by the fireside accepting a glass of rum from Mr. O’Dea and sinking into an offered camp-chair. Laurence rubbed a hand over his jaw, over the hard prickle of the beard, grown familiar. No: Hammond had not come from Peking to bring a few letters and some conversation.

     “Pray allow me to renew my gratitude,” Hammond said, struggling back to his feet, when Laurence had joined him. “I have slept all the day!—and I am astonished to see you so far advanced.” He nodded towards the pavilion.

     “Yes, indeed,” Temeraire said, swinging his head around at the compliment, “everything is coming along splendidly, and we have thought up several small improvements to the ordinary design. You must walk through it; when you are feeling more the thing, of course: you cannot have had a comfortable journey.”

     “No,” Hammond said, very decidedly, “—but I ought not be complaining; Laurence, will you think of it, three weeks!—this time three Sundays ago I was taking tea in Peking; it is scarcely to be believed. Although I am not certain I have survived the experience; yes, thank you, I will take another.”

     Hammond was not a bulky man, and not given much to drink; three tots of strong unwatered rum worked upon his caution, or perhaps he would not have spoken so readily when Laurence said, “Sir, while your company must always be welcome, I must confess myself at a loss to answer for your presence here; you cannot have made such a journey for some trivial purpose.”

     “Oh!” Hammond said, and looking round in vain for a table at last set down his glass upon the ground, and straightened up beaming, “but I must tell you at once: I am here to restore you to the list, Captain; you are reinstated, and—” Laurence was staring, while Hammond turned to rummaging in the inner pockets of his coat. “I even have them here, with me,” and brought out the two narrow gold bars which marked a captain of the Aerial Corps.

     Laurence held himself very still a moment, against the involuntary betraying jerk of movement which nearly escaped: if the bars had not been lying across Hammond’s palm Laurence would have imagined it a sort of wretched joke, a twist of the mind inspired by exhaustion and liquor, but so much premeditation made it true: true, and no less absurd for that. He was a traitor. If he had done anything of note in the invasion of Britain to merit a lessening of the natural penalty for his crime, he had already been granted the clemency of transportation instead of hanging for services rendered, and since had done nothing which should merit the favorable attention of Whitehall: had indeed refused the orders of a Navy officer point-blank.

     “Oh! Oh, Mr. Hammond, how could you not say so at once? But I must not reproach you, when you have brought such splendid news,” Temeraire was saying, head bent low and turned so that one enormous eye could survey the bars. “Laurence, you must have your green coat, at once; Mr. Shipley! Mr. Shipley, pray fetch Laurence’s chest here—”

     “No, “Laurence said, “—no, I thank you. Sir,” he said to Hammond, with more courtesy than he could feel under the circumstances, “I am very sensible of the kindness you mean to do me by coming all this way with the news, but I must decline.”

     He had said it: the only possible answer he could make, and bitter to give. The bars still hung upon Hammond’s palm before him: small and unadorned to represent as they did the lifting of a blot upon his name and his family, whose shame he had with so much effort learned not to think of, as he could do nothing to repair it.

     Hammond stared, his hand still outstretched, and Temeraire said, “But Laurence, surely you cannot mean it,” looking at the gold bars.

     “There can be only one purpose for ordering my reinstatement in such a manner, in our present circumstances,” Laurence said flatly, “and that is to charge me with oversetting the rebellion here in Sydney: no. I am sorry, sir, but I will not be the Government’s butcher again. I have no great sympathy for Mr. MacArthur and his grab for independence, but he has not acted without cause or without sense, and I will not slaughter British soldiers to march him to a scaffold.”

     “Oh—but—”Hammond said, stuttering, “no; no, Captain—I mean, of course, Mr. Laurence; I ought not presume, but—sir, you have mistaken me. I do have business with Governor MacArthur; of course this notion of independence is all nonsense and cannot be allowed to stand, but that is not—while certainly your assistance would be convenient if—”

     He paused, collecting himself, while Laurence steeled himself against the hope which demanded its long-abandoned place, and which he ought to have known better than to indulge: if Hammond had brought a mission which any honorable officer of the Corps might be asked to undertake, such an officer would have been asked. But Hammond had drawn himself up more formally: whatever he might now offer would certainly be cloaked in more tempting accents, and all the more difficult to resist.

     “First, “Hammond said, “allow me to say I entirely understand your sentiments, sir; I beg your pardon for not expressing myself in a more sensible mode. I will also add for your ears that in many quarters, Mr. MacArthur’s other actions have been seen in nothing less than a prudential light. I hope you can imagine that cooler minds have regarded the prospect of outright war with China, which Captain Willoughby’s—out of courtesy, I will not say folly—which Captain Willoughby’s intentions would have induced, as shear madness, and not in any accord with the spirit of his orders.”

     Laurence only nodded, austerely; he had expressed much the same sentiments in his report on the matter to Jane Roland, which if it had not been officially taken notice of had certainly been seen: Hammond did not have to study far to know his feeling son that subject.

     “Insofar arms. MacArthur has shown better judgment in rebelling than in acceding to so disastrous a course, he may well be pardoned for the extremity to which he has gone,” Hammond went on, “provided he should acknowledge his mistake and recant. You of course, having direct knowledge of the gentleman, can better say if he can be swayed by reason, but I assuredly have not come with the intention to work upon him by violence, or merely to treat him as a felon.”

     “I am very sure Mr. MacArthur will be sensible,” Temeraire put in anxiously: his wings were pinned back flat and the expressive ruff also. Laurence knew Temeraire valued his lost captaincy all the more for blaming himself for its loss and that of the better part of Laurence’s fortune. Though Laurence was unable to value either so high as the honor which he had sacrificed, Temeraire had proven unable to accept his assurances on that score: perhaps for the greater chance which the former had, of ever being recovered.

     But however Laurence thought of MacArthur—a second-rate Napoleon, whose talents were not more outsize than his ambitions—he could do him this much credit, or perhaps calumny: if Hammond indeed bore such an offer, Laurence thought it would indeed be accepted. Certainly MacArthur had proclaimed often enough that he had not rebelled on his own account, or for selfish reasons, but only to protect the colony. If that were not entirely the truth, at least MacArthur had deliberately kept open a line of defense less likely to lead him to the gallows; and if he were not inclined to be as sensible as Temeraire hoped, his wife, a wiser woman, likely would be on his behalf.

     “Then for what purpose do you require me a captain, instead of a farmer?” Laurence said.

     “Nothing at all to do with the rebellion,” Hammond said, and then qualified himself, “at least, perhaps—I do not wish to be accused of deceiving you, sir; it may have been considered as an adjunct to the main thrust of our deliberations, that your reinstatement should perhaps give my discussions with Mr. MacArthur ascertain—a degree of—let us say, potency—”

     “Yes, “Laurence said, dryly.

     Hammond cleared his throat. “But that is not at all our central purpose: any dragon, any first-rate, might be deployed here for such an action, should it prove necessary, and certainly if you have any objection I would consider myself empowered to—that is, you should not have to undertake the mission yourself; after all there is nothing very urgent in correcting the situation, so long arms. MacArthur continues to accept the convict ships, as he has. No: it is the situation in Brasilia; perhaps you have heard something of it?”

     Laurence paused; he had heard only the most wild hearsay, borne by an American sea-captain. “That Napoleon had shipped some number of the Tswana dragons there, to attack the colony; to Rio, I understand, if it is not only rumor.”They heard only a little news in their isolate valley, and he had not pursued more than what came of its own accord.

     “No—no, not rumor,” Hammond said. “Bonaparte has conveyed, at last report, more than dozen beasts of the most fearsome description, who have wholly laid waste Roland there is every expectation of his shipping still more as soon as his transports should return to Africa for them.”

     Laurence began to understand, now, what might have brought Hammond here, and his anxious look. “Yet I was only a prisoner among them, sir,” Laurence said slowly, remembering that sudden and dreadful captivity: borne over a thousand miles into the heart of a continent and separated from Temeraire without warning and, at the time, no understanding of the purpose behind his abduction.

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Crucible of Gold 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series with its interesting twist on history. I am very glad that there is another book coming out.
hereticrick More than 1 year ago
This is a great addition to the series. Definitely brings the characters back into the swing of world events (which are now changing more drastically away from real history). Can't wait for the next one. In case there's any doubt: you have to read this series in order! If you're finding this book from poking around, go read His Majesty's Dragon to start with. The series is fantastic, and well worth it.
Ranger13 More than 1 year ago
I really have enjoyed the series but was disappointed with this book. It seamed that the scene breaks left lots of questions and were hard to follow. I also thought there was no conclusion of this story line. I like the idea of continuing the story line but there could have been a better wrap up to this story line.
rfeewjlj More than 1 year ago
This whole series has been one great adventure after another and this latest book just adds to it! I have fallen in love with the characters and their different personalities and I can't wait to see what will happen in the next book (hoping we won't have to wait long for it). If you like nail-biting adventure and a bit of history along with laughing out loud while you read - then this series is for you!
sm41 More than 1 year ago
Love this series! Great writing!
Ken_A More than 1 year ago
A friend recommended the Temeraire books because I love fantasy books and the Patrick O'Brian series. I devoured the first six books in just a few weeks and was eagerly awaiting Crucible of Gold. While the book was still fun to read, it feels like the story is thin in many places and I kept wanting richer descriptions. You will be glad you bought it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series never fails to entertain me! And this book just blew my mind! I really love this author although her previous book disappointed me this one just brought back what her first 3 books were about! I recommend that if your hesitant about this one dont be, like i said this one brings follows the series faithfully.
majkia on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The tale finds Laurence and Temeraire, who had been drummed out of the military because of rank insubordination (mostly on Temeraire¿s part), still stuck in Purgatory (in this case Australia), and doing what they could to make the most of it. Laurence was mostly just glad neither of them had gotten shot as traitors.Suddenly the British ambassador to the Chinese crown turns up with papers saying Laurence is reinstated (grudgingly) into the Aviator Corps. He also brings orders for Laurence and Temeraire to board the dragon ship still docked in Sydney and head to Brazil where Napoleon is attempting to destroy Rio. Glad to be back in harness, glad to be doing something useful, both are eager to find themselves back in the war.Naturally things go very very wrong.I found Crucible of Gold to be as enjoyable as the first of the series, His Majesty¿s Dragon, was. I did find Tongues of Serpents, book six, to be a bit of a slog, but this one is right back up there, with Temeraire being his usual mouthy and opinionated self, Iskierka driving him nuts, and the dragons¿ captains doing whatever it takes to keep their dragons focused on the big picture: Napoleon.
Queensowntalia on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Naomi Novik's latest dragon tale continues the adventures of the valiant Temeraire and his captain Laurence after they were banished to Australia. A series of misadventures soon land them and their friends deep in the heart of the Incan empire - where surprises, and perhaps betrayal, await. Nothing to complain about here, series fans. An excellent installment indeed, with all the twists and turns one could hope for, and the reappearance of a few old friends (and enemies!). My main complaint is now having to wait for the next book. *sigh*
keywestnan on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A real return to form for Novik -- I was a bit worried after the last book but I devoured this one. Especially loved the relationship between the people and the dragons in the Incan Empire -- amusing but also thought-provoking. And the action scenes, both in accidents at sea and battles, are particularly well done.
phyllis2779 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I love the Temeraire series and this was one of the best of the series. I read through thw whole book in one day. I couldn't put it down. The portrait of the Incan empire with dragons was fascinating. The additon of the dragons changes the whole society but it is still very plausible. Where the author is dealing with real events and early 19th century culture and technology, the details are very authentic.
rivkat on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A lot happens, from shipwreck and marooning to betrayal, one of Laurence¿s party discovering the joy of coca leaves, and competition with Napoleon for the allegiance of the Inca Empire, whose feathered dragons prize humans more than their vast reserves of gold and jewelry. Reinstated to the service, Laurence is sent to deal with a Napoleon-aided attack on Brazil by the Tswana, who want to retrieve their enslaved families (or at least their descendants). Geopolitical reversals abound, with some terrible losses of old friends along with the emergence of new ones. All in all, an exciting read¿I went through it in less than a day despite needing to grade.
byroade on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A friend and I are agreed that Crucible of Gold was more satisfying than its predecessor Tongues of Gold. I love the intrepid governess, however little attention Novik (or Lawrence or Temeraire) pay to her. The storyline with yet another variation on draco-human sociology is a fun read. I look forward to the next installment, though I hope more happens in it than just getting from here to there.And I'd love a check in on what year it is, exactly.
WaltNoise on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Crucible of Gold is Naomi Novik¿s latest Temeraire Novel. Laurence and Temeraire travel from Australia to South America in this installment.When I read a review of the first novel of this series, I didn¿t think I¿d be interested. Although I enjoy alternative history and military sci-fi, dragons in the Napoleonic Wars didn¿t seem that great an idea. I was wrong, very wrong.In Novik¿s universe, intelligent dragons share (and sometimes dispute) humanity¿s status as dominant species. Her world is very well-thought out and internally consistent. The various cultures of men and dragons, and how they interact is fascinating. Not only military tactics and technology, but much of society and its mores is vastly different in this world. In Novik¿s universe, the Napoleonic Wars are raging, as happened in ours, but are complicated by a much altered geopolitical situation. China is the strongest world power, and the Inca Empire and that of the Tswana in Africa are flourishing. Apparently, dragons trumped muskets when European adventurers showed up. The plot and characterization is superb. Novik is a great writer. Start with the first novel, His Majesty¿s Dragon, to understand and enjoy this complex world.
lorax on LibraryThing 24 days ago
After the disappointing Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold represents a return to form for the enormously enjoyable Temeraire series. More of the familiar characters make an appearance, and despite a somewhat breathlessly episodic nature with one event hurtling on another with scarcely a pause the plot is more compelling than that of its predecessor.As the novel opens, Laurence and Temeraire are offered reinstatement into the Corps, as the only ones able to negotiate with the Tswana as part of an elaborate plan to turn the Portuguese against Napoleon. (The details behind this mission make sense, but aren¿t terribly important here). The plans quickly go awry, and following a harrowing dragonback journey across much of the Pacific Laurence et al find themselves in the Incan empire, before eventually making their way to Brazil and their original mission.By this point in the series, the complaints voiced about the first book that society had not changed enough from our world as a result of the existence of dragons are largely moot, as we find nation after nation outside Europe dramatically different from ours. The Incas are no exception; while the human population was decimated by European diseases as in our society, the unaffected dragons picked up the pieces and formed a fascinating dragon-dominated culture. I found this one of the most interesting parts of the book, though a careful read meant that what was supposed to be a major reveal about one of the Incan characters wasn¿t surprising at all.As with the earlier books, this is a fun, popcorn read - a guilty pleasure, perhaps, but undeniably a pleasure.
WintersRose on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Interesting concept of South American's being beloved pets of the dragons, but otherwise disappointing. Not at all memorable.
silentq on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I wasn't sure where Laurence and Temeraire would end up after the conclusion of the last book, exiled in Australia. An order comes for them, via China, to go to Brasil to foil France's plans there. A storm during the long crossing of the Pacific leads them through Incan territories first. This was another road trip novel, with the characters flitting from location to location with barely enough time to appreciate the elements unique to each setting. Danger didn't seem to be biting at their heels so much physically as politically this time and I didn't find it as tense as I expected. It was a quick read, I'd have loved for it to have been longer. It did explore some moral quandries relating to duty, friendship, morality, but I didn't get too emotionally engaged in the story.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 24 days ago
For those that don't know, this is the seventh in a series with an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars featuring fighting dragons. I thought the book before this one in the series, Tongues of Serpents, had been the weakest thus far, and feared it might signal the series had jumped the shark. Happily, I'd say that with this book Novik is back on form. There were no dull spots in this one, where we're taken to the land of the Incas and get a look at yet another variation on a draconic society very different than that of Europe. There was plenty of high adventure and humor that makes this series at its best so fun. Temeraire is just a joy to read with his very alien, very draconic point of view on the world around him. In past books I found Iskierka rather annoying--yet this time she amused me I have to admit, and I found her a welcome part of the story--for reasons that used to exasperate me. She's very much a character that's unpredictable and brings surprises into the plot. I wouldn't say this is quite the favorite of the first two books. At one point His Majesty's Dragon moved me to tears, and Throne of Jade amazed me by going in directions I didn't expect. And it's not a game-changer like the middle books Empire of Ivory and Victory of Eagles. I also have to agree this book does nothing for Temeraire's or Laurence's character arcs nor does it much advance the overall plot of the series. But while admitting this doesn't quite clear the high bar those first five books set, this was entirely entertaining from beginning to end.
beserene on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This, the seventh and most recent installment in the Temeraire series, capped off my marathon with solid enjoyment. South America is the new locale this time, and a new development in the characterization and appearance of dragons adds an interesting twist to what might otherwise have become routine after half a dozen books. Though it has a strong central place, the novel does not feel quite all together centered. This slightly scattered tone has appeared before in this series, to ill effect in 'Black Powder War' but to the good in 'Victory of Eagles'. This one falls somewhere in between, because it lacks a MAJOR battle as a centerpiece but has several MAJORLY important events for the series as a whole. Those who have read the series will understand the difference. As for the character relationships, which really drive the books even more than the period detail and the imaginative dragon-integrated world, there are some earlier-developed dynamics that come to satisfying fruition here, but there are also a few moments wherein, for the first time for me at least, the reader's patience is strained; Temeraire's grousing about Iskierka, for example, gets a bit tedious in the middle, though one does get to the reason for it by the end. Other than that, this reader at least was fully engaged with the adventure, which had quite a few sudden turns -- including one heartbreaking loss for the series -- and was, as ever, lively and diverting.Though not a perfect book -- this series doesn't go in for perfection, because it simply wants to cram all the awesome there is into a rather snug pair of breeches and a bottle green coat, and that's a tough fit -- it does continue the best themes and developments of the series right into... another book. Unlike the previous volume, which ended on a note that rang of possible closure, this one leaves off with another adventure clearly, overtly about to begin. The result, of course, is that one wants the next book NOW, even after reading seven of them right in a row, and if that doesn't recommend the series to you, I don't know what will. Just read it. You know you want to.
roadway2000 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I have read the entire series to this point and have very much enjoyed all of the stories. This book will not disappoint you either. I would suggest reading in order as it makes all of the books more enjoyable.
jamespurcell on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Series continues its downward trend. Tedious book that deteriorates into which dragon is bickering with which other dragon as Temeraire's team faces the "Perils of Pauline.
mamzel on LibraryThing 24 days ago
One of the things that I love about this series is that Temeraire and his captain, Laurence, travel all over the world and meet dragons in different situations with different standings with their humans. From being living battle machines in Europe, to revered beings in China, to feral creatures in Africa, and latest, heads of groups of humans called ayllus in South America. Novik explores all the possible dragon/human relationships meanwhile keeping in mind the history of the era.We rejoin Temeraire and Laurence in Australia where they were sent in disgrace with flamboyant and flammable Iskierka. They receive word that they are reinstated with previous rank and seniority and make out to return to the homefront. However, their ship encounters a huge storm and sinks. The dragons pick up as many survivors and supplies as they can and skip across the ocean resting on any available rock or atoll they can find until they finally reach the South American coast. Eventually they find their way to the center of the Inca empire, just ahead of Napoleon who has divested himself of his wife, Josephine, so that he could woo the widow Sapa Inca, leader of a country with vast amounts of gold and many dragons. Before they can marry off one of their own crew to her, Napoleon shows up and they have to beat a hasty retreat over the Andes to the Brazilian coast.I found the shipwreck to be most exciting and the episodes of greedy little Iskierka trying to maneuver her Granby into Sapa Inca's household to be my favorite parts. Laurence was greatly stretched trying to keep as many of his countrymen alive much to their inability and/or disloyalty. He had a hard time mediating between the ambassador, Hammond, and the reality of their situation.A worthy continuation of the Temeraire saga.
JBD1 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Now I'm really in trouble. Having read the first six Temeraire books in the span of a couple months, and then having this one come out (and not having enough self-restraint to hold off very long at all before diving in), I'm going to have to wait for the appearance of the next volume. Another great installment in Novik's delightful series, as Temeraire, Laurence and their ever-growing band of companions face another dangerous and uncertain military and diplomatic mission in far-flung regions. This volume brings them to the Incan empire, where once again Novik gives herself free rein to imagine what shape still another dragon/human culture might take. We meet some new friends here, and some old friends (and, ahem, others) reappear as well, to great effect. I enjoyed every page, and will now settle myself down to await the next volume with as much patience as I can muster.
usagijihen on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Short review is short, but here's my two cents:I just couldn't finish this one. I couldn't get into the style of writing (I found it very difficult to wade through), but the idea of an alternate history where the British army has a Dragon corps within its ranks is an awesome one. Maybe I just need to try again at book one and start over? Anyway, my thanks to DelRey and Librarything for sending me a copy of this one. It's much appreciated, and I just wish I'd been able to get into it more.(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and librarything.)
foggidawn on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Crucible of Gold is the most recent addition to the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. This series is one of my recent favorites. The best way to describe it is alternate history -- the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. What really stands out for me, though, is the excellent characterization. The dragons are so . . . dragonly (yes, that is totally a word); they have their own morals and personalities. They manage to be both sympathetic and alien -- I never forget, when reading, that Temeraire is not human.In this book, Laurence and Temeraire travel from Australia to South America, where they discover another entirely different system of government involving humans and dragons . . . as well as another sneaky plot on the part of Napoleon to upset the balance of power in his favor.I enjoyed this book more than its predecessor, Tongues of Serpents -- it feels like a return to the earlier books. I'm also pleased to note that, while this book doesn't end in a major cliffhanger, it's obvious that there will be more books in the future. I can hardly wait!(If you haven't read the series yet, but are intrigued, the first book is His Majesty's Dragon -- highly recommended to dragon lovers and history buffs alike!)